Originally Posted by MontyB
I disagree, they had enough arms and munitions to defend the island given that they knew the German attack plan and I do not believe I am being harsh of New Zealand troops that were there (1 uncle was there) they did as well as could be expected given the poor quality of leadership exhibited on the island.
The problem was in my opinion that Freyberg and his subordinates had got themselves into evacuation mode from the day they arrived on Crete, he ignored ULTRA and busily dug in to defend against a seaborne landing that could never have taken place given the Royal Navies dominance at sea.
If you sit down and compare the performance of the Australian commanders on the ground there to that of the New Zealand you will see that the New Zealand command just sat there and waited for the Germans to come to them while the Australian sectors actively engaged the Germans and made their life miserable, had this style of defense been used from the beginning Operation Mercury would have been dead in the water at the end of day one.
I do not believe that the New Zealand soldier failed in any way shape or form there but I do believe that they were poorly led by a man who never wanted to be there in the first place and had no intention of staying.
Not entirely correct. The Aussies, Brits, and New Zealanders were well equipped, but the 9000 Greeks+Cretans who made up a quarter of the allied force were notoriously underarmed. The Cretans weapons were of WWI vintage and some were much earlier than that. Some of them had no weapons at all. This was another failing of Freyberg because he had stashes of Captured Italian Weapons Captured during the Balkans Campaign but he refused to arm the Greeks and Cretans. Yet despite this, the Greeks were able to keep the Germans at bay, especially during the evacuation.
I disagree with the evacuation mode. All indications state they Freyberg did all he could to shore up the defenses. The problem was he focused on static defenses along the Coast (sort of like a French Maginot) to repel a seaborne attack rather than a mobile defense which what was needed against paratroops. How he could come to the conclusion of a seaborne invasion where the RN ruled supreme, and not an air attack when there wasn't a single RAF fighter stationed on Crete is beyond comprehension.
Then again, German military Intelligence made far bigger mistakes than Freyberg did. They assumed there was only 5000 men on Crete when there were 42000, they actually thought the Cretans would welcome them (why I don't know) and wouldnt resist, despite a previous report done by them before the war showing the Cretans to hotheaded, pro-british, nationalistic and extremely violent. They missed most of the locations of the Allied formations espicially the Heavy AAA batteries (resulting in 150 Transports being shot down, a loss the Luftwaffe never recovered and were sorely missed at Stalingrad), they bizarrely assumed that a British Task Force based south of crete would be of no threat to Murcury...which resulted in their reserve forces being scattered and sunk at sea.
Freyberg was a by-the-book officer, he totally lacked any time of inspiration or thinking outside of the box. Like so many Allied Generals in the Early War, he failed to understand that this wasn't WWI Trench warfare and that the Germans were reading from an entirely different play-book than he was.
About the Aussies -you know many of them were incarcerated criminals? They were promised pardons if they took up arms, they fought like thugs, which they did. I do think you are hard on the NZ regiments. The 2nd NZ was holding the critical airfield a Maldme, until they were mistakenly ordered to withdraw.
The other group not mentioned with the Moaris who just before entering the battle actually preformed a Haka war dance, scared the bejesus out of the Germans...